INDIANAPOLIS — Songs of worship and prayers for healing were heard outside the Indiana State House on Friday afternoon.

“We gather and we voice answers, we pray, and that’s what we do every year,” said Senior Pastor Fredrick Willis Boyd Jr., Zion Unity Baptist Church.

Boyd helps lead the Stop The Violence Rally every year on the south side steps of the state house. However, this year’s event came just hours after tragedy.

Just before 7:30 Friday morning, IMPD responded to a woman shot and killed outside a daycare on the near west side as she was dropping off children.

“When I heard that this morning, I almost was in tears.” said Boyd. “Here’s a mother that was killed in front of the children, how will those children be affected for the rest of their life?”

The shooting comes as Indianapolis continues to see growing violence with nearly 150 homicides so far this year. While the numbers are lower compared to last year, leaders said something needs to change.

“We can pass whatever law we want to up those steps, it’s not going to change,” said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who was in attendance at Friday’s rally, “It’s not going to change if our hearts don’t change, if our culture doesn’t change.”

Only a handful of people filled the seats at Friday’s event, but Boyd said he’s not discouraged by the attendance as he knows the message will find its way to reach others.

“I looked around and there was a group of kids passing through the courtyard, they were listening. That’s why they stopped to listen. If we affect any one of those children, we’ve been successful,” he said.

Boyd, who is also the founder and director of the Creation Evidence Expo, said they’ll be hosting events promoting peace and strengthening communities throughout the weekend. All events are free and open to the public. You can click the link to view the lineup of events.